A request under the Washington Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW, and Capital Region ESD 113 Policy 4040 must seek an identifiable record or identifiable records. A request for all or substantially all of the records prepared, owned, used, or retained by ESD 113 is not a valid request for identifiable records. General requests for information from ESD 113 that do not seek identifiable records are also not covered by Policy 4040. A request for all records discussing a particular topic or containing a particular keyword or name will not be considered a request for all of ESD 113's records.
Requesting Electronic Records:
The process for requesting electronic public records is the same as for requesting paper public records. However, to assist ESD 113 in responding to a request for electronic records, a requestor should provide specific search terms that will allow the Public Records Officer or designee to locate and assemble identifiable records responsive to the request.
Creating New Records:
ESD 113 is not obligated by law to create a new record to satisfy a records request for information. ESD 113 may choose to create a record depending on the nature of the request and the convenience of providing the information in a new document, such as when data from multiple locations is requested and can be more easily combined into a single new record.
Copies of Records:
If the requestor wishes to have copies of the records made instead of inspecting them, they shall make this clear in the request and make arrangements to pay for copies of the records or a deposit.
Requests Not in Writing:
The Public Records Officer or designee may accept informal requests for public records by telephone or in-person. To avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, however, requestors should be mindful that a request reduced to writing is always the preferred method. If the Public Records Officer or designee receives a request by telephone or in-person, the Public Records Officer will confirm their understanding of the request with the requestor in writing.
PROCESSING OF PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
Order of Processing Requests:
ESD 113 will typically process requests in the order received. However, requests may also be processed out of order if doing so allows the most requests to be processed in the most efficient manner.
Records requests not made to the Public Records Officer of ESD 113 will be forwarded by ESD staff receiving the request to the Public Records Officer for processing.
Within five business days of receipt of a request, the Public Records Officer will do one or more of the following:
- Provide copies of the record(s) requested or make the record available for inspection—or, in the alternative, provide an internet address and link to ESD 113's website where the specific record can be accessed (provided that the requestor has not notified ESD 113 that they cannot access the records through the internet); or
- Acknowledge that ESD 113 has received the request and provide a reasonable estimate of the time it will require to fully respond; or
- Acknowledge that ESD 113 has received the request, and ask the requestor to provide clarification for a request that is unclear, while providing to the greatest extent possible a reasonable estimate of the time ESD 113 will require to respond to the request if it is not clarified; or
- Deny the request (although no request will be denied solely on the basis that the request is overbroad).
If the requestor fails to respond to ESD 113's request for clarification within 30 days and the entire request is unclear, ESD 113 may close the request and not further respond to it. If the requestor fails to respond to ESD 113's request for clarification within 30 days, and part of the request is unclear, ESD 113 will respond to the portion of the request that is clear and may close the remainder of the request. In unusual circumstances, ESD 113 may also seek a court order enjoining disclosure pursuant to law.
ESD 113 may deny a bot request that is one of multiple requests from the requestor within a 24-hour period if ESD 113 establishes that responding to the multiple bot requests would cause excessive interference with ESD 113's other essential functions. ESD 113 may deem a request to be a bot request when ESD 113 reasonably believes the request was automatically generated by a computer program or script.
If ESD 113 does not respond in writing within five business days of receipt of the request for disclosure, the requestor should contact the Public Records Officer to determine the reason for the failure to respond.
Purpose of Request:
ESD 113 may inquire into the purpose for which a record is requested and may use the answer to aid in gathering responsive records and determining whether the public has a legitimate interest in obtaining the information. However, a requester is not required to provide a purpose and ESD 113 may not decline to furnish the records solely because the requester refuses to furnish a purpose for the request.
Protecting Rights of Others:
In the event that the requested records contain information that may affect the rights of others and may be arguably exempt from disclosure, the Public Records Officer may, prior to providing the records, give notice to such others. The notice may make it possible for the others to contact the requestor and ask them to revise the request, or, if necessary, seek a court order to prevent or limit the disclosure. The notice to the affected persons may also include a copy of the request.
Records Exempt From Disclosure:
Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part, under a specific exemption contained in chapter 42.56 RCW or another statute that exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records.
If ESD 113 believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the Public Records Officer will state in writing the specific exemption (and statutory section) which applies and provide a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record being withheld or redacted. This exemption and explanation will be provided to the requestor in a withholding index or log.
If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, but the remainder is not exempt, the Public Records Officer will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and indicate to the requestor why portions of the record are being redacted in the withholding index or log.
List of Laws Exempting or Prohibiting Disclosure:
Pursuant to RCW 42.56.070 (2), these rules contain a list of laws—other than those specifically listed in the Washington Public Records Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW—which may exempt disclosure of certain public records or portions of records. ESD 113 has identified the following laws:
- The Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g (regarding student educational records);
- Washington State Student Education Records Law, RCW 28A.605.030;
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et. seq. and 34 C.F.R. Part 300 (protecting the confidentiality of personally identifying information contained in student records of students with disabilities).
- Privileged communications and attorney work product, such as set forth in Chapter 5.60 RCW;
- Criminal Records Privacy Act (CRPA), Chapter 10.97, RCW;
- Information on students receiving free or reduced lunch, 42 USC §1758(b)(6);
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 45 CFR parts 160-164 (regarding health care information privacy and security);
- Abuse of Children – Protection and Procedure, RCW 26.44.010; RCW 26.44.030(9);
- Notification of Juvenile Offenders, RCW 13.04.155(3);
- Examination question for teachers or pupils prior to the examination, RCW 28A.635.040;
- Public Law 98-24, Section 527 of the Public Health Services Act, 41 USC § 290dd-2 (confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records);
- United States and Washington Constitutional provisions including, but not limited to, the right of privacy and freedom of association. In addition to these exemptions, RCW 42.56.070 (9) prohibits providing access to lists of individuals requested for commercial purposes, and ESD 113 may not do so unless specifically authorized or directed by law.
The above list is for informational purposes only and is not intended to cover all possible exemptions from the public records law. The above list includes only exemptions which may be in addition to those set forth in Chapter 42.56 RCW. Under appropriate circumstances, ESD 113 may rely upon other legal exemptions which are not set forth above or contained within the public disclosure law.
Inspection of Records:
Consistent with other demands, and without unreasonably disrupting ESD operations, ESD 113 shall promptly provide for the inspection of nonexempt public records. No member of the public may remove a document from the viewing area without the permission of the Public Records Officer, nor may they disassemble or alter any document. The requestor shall indicate which documents they wish ESD 113 to copy. There is no cost to inspect ESD records.
Providing Copies of Non-electronic Records:
After inspection is complete, the Public Records Officer or designee shall make the requested copies or arrange for copying.
Providing Electronic Records:
When a requestor requests records in an electronic format, the Public Records Officer or designee will provide the nonexempt records or portions of such records that are reasonably locatable in an electronic format that is used by ESD 113 and is generally commercially available, or in a format that is reasonably translatable from the format in which ESD 113 keeps the record.
Providing Records in Installments:
When the request is for a large number of records, the Public Records Officer or designee has the right to provide access for inspection and copying in installments. If, within 30 days, the requestor fails to inspect the entire set of records or one or more of the installments, the Public Records Officer or designee may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request as discussed further below.
Completion of Inspection:
When the inspection of the requested records is complete and all requested copies are provided, the Public Records Officer or designee will indicate that ESD 113 has completed a diligent search for the requested records and made any located nonexempt records available for inspection.
Closing Withdrawn or Abandoned Request:
The requestor must claim or review the assembled records within 30 days of ESD 113's notification to them that the records are available for inspection or copying. ESD 113 should notify the requestor in writing of this requirement and inform the requestor that they should contact ESD 113 to make arrangements to claim or review the records. If the requestor or a representative of the requestor fails to claim or review the records within the 30-day period or make other arrangements, ESD 113 may close the request and refile the assembled records.
When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill their obligations to inspect the records or pay the deposit or final payment for the requested copies, the Public Records Officer will close the request and indicate to the requestor that ESD 113 has closed the request.
If, after ESD 113 has informed the requestor that it has provided all available records, ESD 113 becomes aware of additional responsive documents existing at the time of the request, it will promptly inform the requestor of the additional documents and provide them on an expedited basis.
COSTS OF PROVIDING RECORDS, WAIVER OF COSTS, AND AGREEMENTS REGARDING COSTS
Cost of Printed Copies and Mailing:
The cost of providing photocopies or printed copies of electronic records is 15 cents per page. Alternatively, if ESD 113 determines and documents that the fees allowed under this procedure are clearly equal to, or more than, two dollars, ESD 113 may instead charge a flat fee of two dollars to provide the records. If ESD 113 charges a flat fee for the first installment, ESD 113 will not charge an additional flat fee or a per page fee for any subsequent installments. Payment may be made by cash, check, or money order payable to Capital Region ESD 113.
ESD 113 may also charge actual costs of mailing, including the cost of the shipping container or envelope.
The Public Records Officer or designee may require the payment of the remainder of the copying costs before providing all the records, or the payment of the costs of copying an installment before providing that installment.
If requested, ESD 113 will provide a summary of the applicable charges before any copies are made. The requestor will be allowed to revise the request in order to reduce the applicable charges.
Customized Service Charge:
A customized service charge may be imposed if ESD 113 estimates that the request would require the use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations, or to provide customized electronic access services when such compilations and customized access services are not used by ESD 113 for other ESD purposes. The customized service charge may reimburse ESD 113 up to the actual cost of providing the services in this paragraph.
ESD 113 will not assess a customized service charge unless it has notified the requestor of the customized service charge to be applied to the request, including an explanation of why the customized service charge applies, a description of the specific expertise, and a reasonable estimate cost of the charge. The notice will also provide the requestor the opportunity to amend their request in order to avoid or reduce the cost of a customized service charge.
Cost for Electronic Records:
The cost for providing electronic records is as follows:
- Ten cents per page for public records scanned into an electronic format or for the use of ESD equipment to scan the records;
- Five cents per each four electronic files or attachment uploaded to email, cloud-based data storage service, or other means of electronic delivery;
- Ten cents per gigabyte for the transmission of public records in an electronic format or for the use of ESD equipment to send the records electronically; and
- The actual cost of any digital storage media or device provided by ESD 113, the actual cost of any container or envelope used to mail the copies to the requestor, and the actual postage or delivery charge.
ESD 113 will take reasonable steps to provide the records in the most efficient manner available to ESD 113 in its normal operations.
Alternatively, if ESD 113 determines and documents that the fees allowed under this procedure are clearly equal to, or more, than two dollars, ESD 113 may instead charge a flat fee of two dollars to provide the records. If ESD 113 charges a flat fee for the first installment, ESD 113 will not charge an additional flat fee or a per page fee for any subsequent installments.
The Public Records Officer or designee may also require the payment of the remainder of the copying costs before providing all the records, or the payment of the costs of copying an installment before providing that installment.
If requested, ESD 113 will provide a summary of the applicable charges before charges are imposed under this procedure. The requestor will be allowed to revise the request in order to reduce the applicable charges.
ESD 113 will not impose copying charges for access to or downloading of records that ESD 113 routinely posts on its website prior to the receipt of a request, unless the requestor has specifically requested that ESD 113 provide copies of such records through other means.
Before beginning to make the copies, the Public Records Officer or designee may require a deposit of up to ten percent of the estimated costs of copying all the records selected by the requestor, including the cost of a customized service charge according to the provision above.
The Public Records Officer may waive any charge assessed for a request. On behalf of ESD 113, the Public Records Officer may also enter into any contract, memorandum of understanding, or other agreement with a requestor that provides an alternative fee arrangement to the charges authorized in this Procedure, or in response to a voluminous or frequently occurring request.
INTERNAL REVIEW OF DENIALS OF PUBLIC RECORDS
Petition for Internal Administrative Review of Denial of Access:
Any person who objects to the initial denial or partial denial of a records request may petition in writing (including email) to the Public Records Officer for a review of that decision. The petition shall include a copy of or reasonably identify the written statement by the Public Records Officer or designee denying the request.
Consideration of Petition for Review:
The Public Records Officer shall immediately consider the petition and shall either affirm or reverse the denial within two business days following the receipt of the petition, or within such other time as ESD 113 and the requestor mutually agree to.
REPORTING COSTS OF PRODUCING PUBLIC RECORDS
ESD 113 will provide the information specified in RCW Chapter 40.14 to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee as required by law.